Toyota will lease its patented technology for hybrid engines to rival Ford for an undisclosed sum, the auto-makers announced. Ford will reciprocate by sharing its patents on emission purification with Toyota. Since introducing its Prius model in 1997, Toyota has been a leader in developing cars powered both by gas and electric motors.
Saying it must prepare for a "worst-case scenario," Volkswagen announced plans to cut another $2.5 billion in expenses by the end of next year. Among the steps: a workforce reduction of 5,000 employees, many of them through early retirements. The German automaker already is involved in a cost-cutting drive aimed at saving $1.85 billion. In a news conference Monday, chief executive Bernd Pischetsrieder said VW's first-quarter performance will be "lousy," in part because of disappointing sales of its Golf compact model.
EchoStar Communications said it is pulling the plug on TV channels owned by Viacom - among them CBS affiliates in 15 major markets and 10 nationally distributed cable channels - from its DISH Network satellite system. The decision, effective immediately, stems from an unresolved dispute over programming fees. EchoStar claims that Viacom is trying to extract concessions and higher rates on programming unrelated to CBS. EchoStar said customers will be offered monthly credits for lost programming.
J.M. Smucker Co., the nation's largest maker of jams and spreadable fruit, annouced it will acquire International Multifoods Corp. for almost $1 billion in cash and assumed debt. International Multifoods markets Pillsbury cake and Hungry Jack pancake mixes, Robin Hood flour and baking mixes, and Bick's pickles and condiments. Smucker's, whose brands also include Jif peanut butter and Crisco shortening and cooking oil, is based in Orrville, Ohio; its new acquisition is in Minneapolis.
Fast-expanding Sovereign Bancorp, one of the nation's largest thrift institutions, said it will buy Waypoint Financial Corp. of Harrisburg, Pa., for just under $1 billion. The deal gives Sovereign 60 more branch banks in Pennsylvania and Maryland to add to the more than 500 it already operates in the Northeast. Sovereign, based in Philadelphia, bought two Massachusetts banks earlier this year.